Title: Water, Water
Summary: ONESHOT: Just a little Waige fluff I wrote for Walter O'Brien Appreciation Week 2016 – Day 5 (June 17th): Favorite Relationship (romantic or otherwise). There's no plot here.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own /scorpion. This story is for entertainment purposes only. I make no profit and no infringement of copyrights is intended.
Paige dropped her bags on the table and rushed to the half bath that opened off the foyer. She was beginning to question the wisdom of moving so far away from the garage. The long commute meant she always seemed to have to go in a hurry when she got home. She loved her home, though. The little inconveniences were more than made up for by the additional space and other amenities they enjoyed.
Walter trailed in behind her. "You know, we could always stop somewhere about half way so you wouldn't have to sprint in there as soon as we get home!" He yelled so that she could hear him, since the bathroom door was now between them.
"You know I don't like using public restrooms!" She yelled back.
Sighing in relief she shook her head at Walter repeating the same discussion yet again. Wasn't there a saying that said that was the definition of insanity? The Walter she knew could be peculiar, quirky and even enigmatic; but he was anything but insane. Rationality was the Walter watchword and he lived by it.
Having finished, she rose and prepared to wash her hands. Recalling the recent announcements of yet more severe water restrictions, she tapped the foot pedal that Walter installed to activate the faucet for just a second in order to wet her hands. She'd asked about the foot pedal, since it seemed like old technology as compared to something like a motion sensor. Walter explained that motion sensors typically left the water running for several seconds after they started. The foot pedal allowed human control over the duration of the stream, which in this case could be more conservative and therefore more efficient. She lathered her hands, then rinsed and dried them.
The drought in Southern California was in its seventh year and news programs and public service announcements urged the populace every day to be more conservative of water consumption. The landscaping around the O'Brien home was a uniform, sere beige due to the lack of water. She smiled as she recalled the morning a few months before when she'd suggested to Walter that they share the shower in the morning as an additional water saving measure. Walter, all innocence, agreed that might represent a worthwhile savings. In fact, of course, their shared shower lasted much longer than their separate showers did, although little of that time was actually spent washing anything.
A tingle of desire ran through her as she recalled that morning. Not only was their water consumption shameful; they'd been late arriving at the garage, a fact which caused Toby to immediately draw embarrassingly accurate conclusions.
Paige made her way into the kitchen to start seeing about some dinner since it was her night for domestic duties. Walter, of course, would be taking advantage of his free evening in his workroom. Peering into the refrigerator for ideas, she thought she might be able to distract her husband for a nice pre-dinner rendezvous if she could come up with a meal plan that took time to cook, but required little supervision. Spying a foil-wrapped baking pan, she quickly checked the crisper to confirm that they still had a bag of fresh ready-to-go salad. She pulled out the pan, quickly popped it into the oven and made her way to the workroom. In about forty-five minutes the lasagna would be hot and bubbly and hopefully her itch would be scratched.
Walter kissed his wife, the pleasant aftershocks of satisfying love-making still reverberating through his frame. He gave up long ago resisting her attempts to draw him away from his workroom. It was more efficient – and infinitely more delightful – to capitulate to her distractions. It was rare that Walter initiated intimacy. He enjoyed it immensely, but it simply wasn't in his nature to think of it independently. He was glad that Paige, therefore, was unrestrained in making her desires known.
Lately, Paige's appetite had increased. Walter wasn't going to complain, but it did seem that sex every night, again in the morning and often in the evening as soon as they got home was becoming the new normal. Walter knew nothing about what frequency was typical, but he supposed that it wasn't unusual for a couple married just seven months to engage multiple times during the course of a day. He anticipated things would slack off in due course. It struck him, however, that the prospect disappointed him. True, it took time away from his projects, but he found that afterwards he was energized, better able to focus and actually more productive. He thought perhaps it might be wise to begin tracking their activities. If, indeed, things between them began to wane, he could then make an effort to initiate sex himself and maintain their current, invigorating schedule.
"Sweetheart," he urged, gently cupping her cheek and running his fingers into her tousled hair. "My sense of smell is telling me that dinner is about to burn. You were pretty embarrassed the last time when Ralph realized why that happened, so perhaps we should get up and get back downstairs."
Paige giggled, opened her eyes and smiled. Turning over, she stretched languidly, then turned back and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Mmmmm," she purred. "I'm so glad he's taking extra afternoon classes at the university. I don't know what I'd do if we couldn't have these little after work sessions. I get so distracted during the day sometimes, just anticipating."
She snuggled up closer to him and nibbled his earlobe. He'd been amused to find that she had a real thing for ears; she generally started and ending their sessions by paying close attention to his. He discovered she also appreciated when he reciprocated that attention.
"I don't suppose we could get the rest of the team to go out to lunch sometimes and leave us alone? You still have that lovely bed up in the loft."
Walter laughed. "What sort of comments do you think Toby would make if you suggest we stay behind while they all go out for an hour?"
Paige frowned. "Good point," she sighed. "Oh well, I guess I'll just have to live with the anticipation." She rolled over again and stood. Walter watched her for a moment, loving the rounded curves of her body. She was very aware that he enjoyed looking, and he was aware that she made a point to give him a show. He hoped that would never change. He knew women's bodies went through various changes, but he couldn't imagine ever not loving the look of her. He'd never seen anything more beautiful, and it was because he saw all of her, not just the outside, but the caring, intelligent, funny woman inside that he hadn't been able to stop himself falling in love with.
Ralph heard the oven buzzing just as he came in the door. He kept walking through the living room to the den that had been converted into his bedroom. There were plenty of rooms upstairs that he could have used, but having this room gave him a bit of privacy – and shielded him from the nightly activities in his parents' room. It wasn't that he didn't understand or accept what they were doing; he was fifteen, after all. He loved Walter and was thrilled when the man who was more of a father than anyone else asked Ralph's mother to marry him. But this was his mom! He didn't need to overhear the sound effects.
After he dumped his backpack, he wandered back into the kitchen to see what was for supper. The buzzer was still buzzing, so he punched the button to turn it off. Grabbing a pair of oven mitts, he opened the oven door and pulled out the bubbling casserole. Opening one side of the foil, he took a quick peek. Grinning, her removed the rest of the foil, put the pan back in the oven and reset the timer for ten minutes so the cheesy top could brown.
Satisfied that he'd rescued their meal, Ralph went to the other side of the kitchen and through the double doors into Walter's workroom. The sprawling house had no basement, so like his den/bedroom, some of the lower level rooms had been converted to uses more suited to the O'Brien family. The breakfast area off one side of the kitchen was converted into a small office for Paige and what had been designed as a dining room was now Walter's workroom. The living area was more than large enough to accommodate seating for the family and any guests and they had turned one side of the open area into a dining area for small dinners. Beyond the workroom was a family and entertainment room where they spent most of their leisure time.
"Dad?" Ralph called through the doors. He waited a moment, but got no answer. "Dad?" he yelled again, stepping inside and looking around. "Dad!" he yelled one more time, hoping maybe Walter was just in the nearby bathroom. But no luck. Walter wasn't on the main floor, and neither was Paige. Ralph knew very well that this early in the evening they would not be in the entertainment room. Glancing upwards he sighed, wondering where two people their age got the stamina.
When he returned to the kitchen, he heard footsteps coming down the stairs. Knowing the usual menu, he rummaged in the refrigerator for salad ingredients. By the time his parents appeared, he was well on his way to assembling the salad that would accompany their lasagna.
Paige was dressed in a comfortable pair of yoga pants and an old college sweatshirt. Walter was similarly casual.
"Thank you, Ralph!" his mom said, coming up beside him and giving him a quick peck on the cheek. Ralph knew most guys his age would shrug away from such motherly affection, and he would, too, if his mom ever did that when his friends were around. But she never did. Ralph wasn't sure why guys were supposed to pretend their mothers didn't love them. He knew from the example he saw with all the Scorpion team members that love in a family was a very powerful thing. Denying it seemed stupid.
After dinner, they decided to spend the early evening relaxing on the patio. Although the dry lawn was far from beautiful, they had lovely views of the nearby hills. Paige was glad to know that both her son and her husband could appreciated taking time to relax and simply enjoy the beauty that was around them. Walter would never be the one to suggest an afternoon trip to the art museum, but Ralph showed an appreciation for art and music that nearly equaled his mother's. Paige suspected some of that interest was because of a certain redhead. The two shared playdates from the early days when Ralph was just starting to acclimate to the normal world. They were still very close and Paige would not be at all surprised if, in a few months when he got his driver's license, Ralph asked to borrow the car to go on a date.
Paige didn't want to think about that now. Her baby was still her baby and each time she thought of him driving, she pictured him as a toddler behind the wheel. He was just too young, no matter what the State of California might say!
"Hey guys?" Ralph announced, breaking the tranquil mood. "Do you think maybe we could invite the gang over tomorrow and have a cookout like we used to do on the roof? I haven't seen the Quintis twins in ages. I mean, I know they're just two but they're really cute and kinda fun. Sly texted me that he built a new add-on for Halo Ten and he doesn't think I can crack it. I'm pretty sure I'll prove him wrong…again."
"Ralph," Walter began, "You know the restrictions. We can invite everyone over but an actual cook out is out. There's too much danger of a fire. One spark could easily turn all that scrub brush into a blazing inferno."
Ralph sighed. "Sometimes I miss the garage!" he declared. "I'm going to go inside and play some games. You two lovebirds enjoy the view."
After Ralph walked inside, Walter stood up and went to the small stereo unit and turned on some light music. Then he came over and sat beside Paige, putting an arm around her and pulling her in close. He gently kissed the top of her head.
"Sometimes I miss the garage, too," he whispered.
"Really? Why?" Paige asked.
"Oh, memories. We had a lot of great times up there, celebrating after cases."
"I remember the first time you asked me on a 'real date'," Paige recalled. "It was right after that crazy case with the cars. You wanted to celebrate but Cabe had to follow up with NHTSA, Sly was packing for that weekend he spent camping with Ralph and Toby and Happy had their own issues to deal with. So it was just the two of us." She snuggled closer, amazed as she always was to recall that her very practical Walter had a romantic streak. "I mean, you had me at 'date', but you kind of blew me away with everything."
Walter laughed. "At least now I know that Mariachi Bands are actually a little cheesy."
The light breeze that started earlier that evening was getting stronger. Paige noticed that the dry bushes and stunted trees were starting to whip around in the wind.
Paige laughed, too. "I loved the thought behind it, though. I have to admit, I do wish this drought would break. I miss the cookouts, too. And we have this perfectly nice pool that we can't use. Maybe you could turn your brain to figuring out a way to make it rain? I would love you forever."
"You already promised to love me forever," he reminded her. "I have video of the entire ceremony."
"That's probably my favorite memory from the roof," she mused. "I thought Sly would never stop crying."
"Well, I think with Ray officiating, maybe he was remembering his own wedding."
"Hmmm. You're probably right," she agreed. "I sometimes wish Sly would find someone else. He's got so much love inside him. I hope he doesn't think any of us would think less of him for moving on."
"I don't think that's it." Walter paused, recalling the day he first learned of his sister's marriage as well as the day he acknowledge Sylvester as his brother. They were all family, but his connection with the mathematical genius was special because of the love they shared for Megan. They still went to the beach every year, on her birthday. "I think he never thought he'd find love, and for him, Megan was it. He's had the best he can imagine and nothing else would compare, so he's just not interested." Walter turned to look in his wife's eyes. "If it makes you feel any better, I think he's happy just the way things are. Like he says, he and Megan made sure they would have no regrets."
"You've gotten pretty smart for a guy who didn't believe in love a few years ago."
"I've always been smart," he claimed. "But when it comes to love, I've had a great teacher."
Paige felt the need to steer the conversation away from the sappy direction it had taken. These days, she got overly emotional too quickly and if Walter kept this up she'd be a puddle of tears with him frantically concerned that he'd said something to upset her. "They keep predicting rain but it never seems to materialize. Isn't meteorology a science? Shouldn't they be able to do better?"
"Meteorology is a science, but that doesn't mean the people who study it know everything there is to know about it. Obviously, their data is incomplete, which causes them to make erroneous hypotheses. It's unfortunate that the public nature of their science requires them to announce those hypotheses and be frequently proven wrong."
"Still, I wish it would rain."
Without warning, a gust of wind caught one of the patio umbrellas, lifting it up and nearly inverting it. Walter got up quickly and struggled to close it, then lowered it onto its side, still locked into its base. He did the same with the two other umbrellas, then rolled all of them up against the house, placing two concrete blocks up against them to keep them from blowing around.
"Do you want to go inside?" he asked.
"No. This will blow past in a few minutes. After the heat of the past few weeks, this wind actually feels pretty good."
"Okay," he agreed.
Walter came back and sat back down with her when Paige heard her favorite song on the stereo. She stood up and held out a hand to him. "Get up and dance with me."
Walter looked askance, but, smiling indulgently, he stood and took her in his arms. They swayed together, and Paige reveled in the feel of his arms around her, the knowledge that this man, who never understood love, now loved her with his whole heart. If she wasn't careful, she was going to make herself cry.
As they danced, a few heavy drops began to spatter on the paving stones. Walter stopped. "I think we should go inside."
"Oh no, you don't. I've gotten you to dance with me and you're gonna dance!" Paige declared.
Walter shrugged his shoulders and took the woman back in his arms as the sky opened up and rain poured down on them. Within seconds they were soaked, but Paige just kept on dancing. After a moment, she twirled away and he pulled her back so her back was to his front, his arms wrapped around her stomach as they continued to sway.
Paige grinned. The timing was perfect.
"Is that…is that her?" he asked.
Paige nodded, still smiling. "Yep. That's her. She's been kicking me black and blue for the last few weeks, it's about time Daddy got a taste of it!" She turned to face him, holding his hand in just the right spot. "So what do you think, Daddy?"
"I think…" Walter looked up, then back down at her small bump, then back up. "I think I've fallen in love again!"
June 17, 2016